Electro-Stim Kings: Wayne Allen Talks Business Model and Goals
It’s easy to get bogged down in terrible puns when you start to talk about the intriguing area of adult that is electro-stimulation. So I will try to avoid references to “electrifying sexual experiences” and “sparks of genius.” What’s harder however is to ignore the passion and ingenuity of the people behind E-Stim Systems, a company from Watford, England that designs, manufactures and distributes electro-stimulation equipment.
As the firm celebrates its 10th birthday and nomination for two ETO awards I asked Wayne Allen the company’s managing director, how E-Stim Systems came into being.
“E-Stim Systems [began] at a time [when] my partner Caz (who runs our admin and accounts) and I were becoming more adventurous in our own personal play,” Allen said. “We became interested in electro play but found the equipment available was either very expensive or not designed for what it was being used for (rebadged TENS or acupuncture units).
Having worked in the electronics industry since the age of 18, in production, design and research and development I felt I could build a simple unit. Friends got to hear about our little box of tricks and I found I was making more and more of them in my spare time. It soon became apparent that the only way to keep up with demand was to move into producing them full-time, so we moved into a small business unit, got married and have expanded ever since.”
The E-Stim customer service model came about in a similar way.
“We decided to pursue the same ethos of companies that we liked to deal with, trying to offer good quality together with exceptional service, not just in the pre-sales arena but also continuing to offer that service for the lifetime of our relationship with the customer,” Allen said. “It is one of the reasons that we feel able to offer a lifetime guarantee on a number of our core products. It also means we have a better than average customer retention ratio, with customers returning again and again to add to their toy box.
“We are constantly looking to improve the service we offer both to our retail customers and business partners. Improved shipping, multilingual staff, and online chat support are all aspects that we have brought in recently.”
In specialist areas of the adult product market, perhaps more than others, the team behind the product is paramount.
“We don’t actually employ sales staff in the traditional sense, because it’s quite hard at an interview to inquire as to whether someone actually uses our equipment on a personal basis, but we are quite proud of the fact that everyone involved within sales and customer support has direct personal experience of the products we offer,” Allen said. “We can give in-depth advice [about products]. And at least one member of our staff joined us after becoming a customer.”
E-Stim Systems’ products are distinctly their own, so do they design everything in-house?
“Predominantly yes, although a lot of ideas do come from our test team and of course our customers, we love coming up with new ideas,” Allen said. “Some never make it to market, but we will always keep trying to produce something different. [And] the majority of manufacturing processes do occur in our own U.K.-based workshops, we are proud to be British.
“It is the only way we feel that we can ensure the quality of our products at every stage of the manufacturing process. It also allows us to respond much more quickly to changes in demand as well as having the ability to pursue new ideas.”
When it comes to designing new products I was curious about who E-Stim Systems are designing for and what criteria they have when developing new additions to their range.
“We have always been surprised at the wide range of people who enjoy our products, from 18 to 87, male, female, couples, singles, straight or gay, we find everyone has a different outlook on what we can offer; and we will always do our best to listen and help people to enjoy their purchases.
“I would say we still have a hard core group of fetish customers, but more and more conventional couples are coming around to the pleasures that our toys can offer.”
And as for product development …
“The first principle is, does it work? Does it do what is supposed to do? There is no point in producing a product that looks good, and has great margins, and then just doesn’t give the customer what they want,” Allen said. “[We are] always asking the question can we improve this? Can we make it better?”
As a potential business partner it is vital to know what you can expect from E-Stim Systems.
“We think it is vitally important to have both the face-to-face contact with retail customers at events, and we regularly visit our stockists and distributors to discover how they work, as well as offering a little onsite training, we also do our best to provide a good web presence via email, chat, and forums, as today in this 24/7 ‘always on’ connected world not everyone can find the time to attend an event.”
For partners new to the E-Stim range there is straightforward help and advice.
“We would always suggest considering our Ultra Pack as a good starting point, as it contains a little for everyone, but we’d also like to chat to the retailer to discover what they are looking for - we might know our own products exceptionally well, but the retailer will know their customer base, and it is only by working with the retailer can we offer what they (and their customers) want.”
Anyone interested in stocking E-stim’s range of products for retail or distribution worldwide should contact their team by any of the following means: firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)1923 226494 wholesale.e-stim.co.uk.